Brand: National Rums of Jamaica
Origin: Long Pond Distillers Ltd., Clark's Town, Trelawny, Jamaica
Age: 13 years
For those of us rum aficionados that dive into funky– specifically Jamaican– rum, esters and other volatile compounds are what we chase. These flavor molecules are introduced during the fermentation process, and are one of the ways that Jamaican rum marques are differentiated and compared.
The high ester rum we're looking at today comes from the Long Pond distillery. We previously talked about Long Pond in review #039, noting that the distillery has had a challenging past decade. National Rums of Jamaica, or NRJ, is a Jamaican company that owns Long Pond, and lends its name to Velier's 2018 series of releases to which this bottling belongs.
NRJ Cambridge STC<3E 2005 is a 13 year old rum that was distilled via Long Pond's John Dore double retort pot still in Trelawny Parish. The Cambridge name references the estate from which the rum's marque– STC<3E or STC❤️E– was transferred from; this intriguing mix of letters and symbols stands for "Simon Thompson Cambridge Estate". From a purely aesthetic stance, I love the name and initialization of this marque, with its odd inclusion of a heart symbol; there's something cryptic yet endearing about it.
Technically, this marque denotes a range of 550-700g/hLAA of esters, indicating that this should be expected to have some funk and complexity relative to other marques. With the 13 years of tropical aging, however, I expect this to be more subdued than an unaged variant. Velier blended 11 casks of this rum together and released it in 2018 at a strength of 62.5% ABV.
Boston Rum Social Club organizer and fellow Rum Consumers Alliance member Olivier Renault provided me with this sample after we had a swap during the 2023 Miami Rum Congress; thanks Olivier!
Orange-brown, medium clarity, low viscosity
Banana, kiwi, citrus zest, pineapple, industrial fumes, cheesecake, green apple skin, blueberries, clear gummy Lifesaver
Pineapple, banana, lime zest, kiwi, oak, cinnamon, black cherry, blueberries
Long, fruity, funky, smokey; oak, vanilla custard, hickory smoke, grilled pineapples, underripe bananas, brown sugar
This Long Pond STC<3E rum is fantastic. It's a pure example of high ester, high proof Jamaican rum and it takes no prisoners; that said, it's not outrageous in character and manages its proof near perfectly.
Tropical fruits of all sorts come through in each stage of the experience, bringing out the unique flavors with copious amounts of funk. There's also plenty of funk given the longer age statement in the tropics, but the oak, funk, and high proof all combine together perfectly; this drinks incredibly well and isn't too divisive while still delivering what purists want and expect.
I'm glad I got a chance to try a bit of this Cambridge release of STC<3E; the few Long Pond rums I've been able to try have really piqued my interest on the elusive distillery. Thankfully, it seems they've resumed production and there have been a number of Long Pond releases come to the US recently. While the NRJ Cambridge release is likely long gone from shelves in the wild, I'm glad this marque has had more recent availability recently.